tv PBS News Hour PBS December 10, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight: army sergeant bowe bergdahl breaks his silence, telling the public radio podcast "serial" how he walked away from his army post in afghanistan. >> ifill: also ahead this thursday: president obama signs an overhaul to no child left behind. how the landmark moment could change public schools for the first time in more than a decade. >> woodruff: and, how a vermont ski resort cashed in on a little known immigrant visa program. >> before the eb-5 funded renovation and expansion began in 2008, this was a ski slope going downhill. it's now a year-round resort attracting a million customers
>> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: geneva, switzerland, went on high alert today over new warnings of possible terrorist attacks. officials said a search was on for 2 to 4 suspects with possible links to the islamic state group. it was unclear if the alert was tied to last month's attacks in paris. police stepped up screenings at border crossings, and there was heavier security deployed outside the u.n.'s european headquarters and other sites >> ifill: the u.s. military is attempting to explore expanding its ability to fight islamic state forces beyond iraq and syria. "the new york times" reports the
pentagon wants to build up bases across east africa, southeast asia and the middle east, for special operations and intelligence. at the pentagon today, defense secretary ash carter said, that kind of network would help cut down the militants' reach. >> this tumor is metastasizing or has metastasized. that's the reality the recognition of that behind the concept of linking together american counter-terrorism and military nodes in the region and around the world. >> ifill: the plan is subject to presidential approval. >> woodruff: republican presidential candidate donald trump has postponed a december visit to israel. prime minister benjamin netanyahu had been singled out by many israeli politicians for inviting trump, after the g.o.p. frontrunner called for banning muslims from entering the u.s. today, trump tweeted that he's putting off the trip because -- "i didn't want to put
(netanyahu) under pressure." he said he'll reschedule -- after he becomes president. >> ifill: meanwhile, leaders of arab states in the persian gulf region condemned verbal attacks on muslims and syrian refugees. meeting in riyadh, the heads of state warned against what they called "hostile, racist and inhumane rhetoric". none directly named name donald trump. >> woodruff: back in washington, the senate has approved a short- term funding bill to keep the government operating through next wednesday. the house is expected to follow suit tomorrow. negotiators still have to nail down agreement on long-term tax and spending measures, totaling more than a trillion dollars. house speaker paul ryan said this morning he remains optimistic about getting it done. >> i think our members understand the situation quite well. look, we're not going to get everything we want in negotiations. the democrats aren't going to get everything they want in negotiations. not everybody gets what you want when you negotiate in divided government. but i think we will complete
this. >> woodruff: congressional leaders aim to complete the omnibus bills next week and adjourn for the year. >> ifill: commercial truck and bus drivers are going to have to start recording their driving hours electronically. a new federal rule released today aims to keep tired drivers off the road. it requires devices that automatically log engine hours and other data. since 1938, operators have kept paper logs, but accident investigators say those are easily doctored. >> woodruff: wall street recouped some of its recent losses today. the dow jones industrial average gained 82 points to close near 17,575. the nasdaq rose 22 points, and the s&p 500 added four. still to come on the newshour: a first-hand account from bowe bergdahl. a sophie's choice for yazidi refugees weighing the risk of a journey to europe. the end of no child left behind, and much more.
>> ifill: the controversy over the prisoner exchange that freed army sergeant bowe bergdahl from the taliban last year, reignited today, as afghanistan struggles to fight back against the resurgent militant group. we start with this report from chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner. >> i had this fantastic idea that i was gonna prove to the world that, you know, i was the real thing. >> warner: it's the first time bowe bergdahl's version of his experience has been heard publicly. the army sergeant tells his story in a new episode of the wildly popular podcast "serial". he says he left his post in afghanistan without permission in june 2009, hoping to raise concerns about leadership his unit. >> all i was seeing was
basically leadership failure, to the point that the lives of the guys standing next to me were literally, from what i could see, in danger. >> warner: but he was captured by taliban fighters and remained a prisoner until his release last may. >> this morning, i called bob and jani bergdahl and told them that after nearly five years in captivity, their son, bowe, is coming home. >> warner: in the rose garden, president obama announced he'd been freed, in exchange for releasing five taliban inmates at guantanamo bay, who were sent to qatar. the swap sparked criticism by republican lawmakers, who blasted its legality some calling bergdahl a deserter. and by some of the soldiers who served with bergdahl, who also charged him with deserting.
combat is difficult. the only thing you can count on in combat is the commitment of your fellow american. knowing somebody you needed to trust is already in war and did so on his own free will is the ultimate betrayal. >> the president defended his decision a few days after bergdahl's release. >> we do not leave anybody wearing the american uniform behind. we had a prisoner of war, whose health had deteriorated and we were deeply concerned about and we saw an opportunity and we seized it and i make no apologies for that. >> warner: that wasn't the end of it. today, republicans on the house armed services committee released a 98-page report, finding the taliban swap violated several laws, requiring 30 days' notice to congress, and the committee was misled about the extent and scope of efforts to arrange the transfer. democrats called the report an unbalanced, partisan, and needless attempt to justify a predetermined position. bergdahl was originally charged
with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, but the army's investigating officer recommended his case be treated as a misdemeanor. bergdahl is awaiting a decision on whether he'll be court-martialed. as the case plays out, the taliban are again on the offensive. an attack on kandahar airport this week killed 50 people. and, in september, the militants seized the northern city of kunduz for three days. meanwhile, there's turmoil in kabul, where the head of afghanistan's main intelligence agency resigned today. he had opposed president ashraf ghani's efforts to renew peace talks with the taliban. >> ifill: for more on the continuing debate surrounding bowe bergdahl we get two views from members of the house armed services committee. representative vicky hartzler, is a republican from missouri. she's also the chairwomen of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations, which co- authored the report we just reported on. and representative loretta sanchez is a democrat from california who also serves on
the homeland security committee. representative hartzler, was bowe bergdahl worth rescuing, in your opinion? >> well, that's not to be determined by our report. what we were looking at is actually the circumstances relating to his transfer and if it endangered americans and if the law was violated and, clearly, we determined this administration violated the law which says they need to notify congress at least 30 days before any transfer from guantanamo bay and, in addition to that. we found much evidence how this administration misled congress every step of the way. the taliban 5 notified they were going to be transferred two days before congress was even notified and this is very, very concerning. >concerning. >> ifill: it sounds like your conclusion is the taliban 5 were not a worthwhile exchange for this soldier. >> what's more important is whether this administration
followed the law or not. certainly, as representatives of the people, we should know if the five most dangerous taliban leaders that we were holding should be released and the circumstances of those released. talking about the deputy minister of defense, the deputy minister of intelligence, military commanders, friends of osama bin laden, these are five of the most dangerous individuals that we had in guantanamo bay, and yet they were released, going around congress without us even being notified of the nature of their release, if it posed a security threat to our nation and whether the country who would be accepting them would be able to detain them and keep them from reengaging in the fight, and that is a clear violation of the law and it's very concerning because we know from media reports that at least three of these individuals have tried to reengage again, and we have soldiers still in afghanistan, and we fought hard to capture these individuals, to take them off the battlefield and now,
potentially, they are being released without congress being involved in that decision. >> ifill: let me ask the same question of representative sanchez. given what we know the nature to have the exchange was, was bowe bergdahl worth rescuing? >> i believe there is one thing all americans can agree on and that is we never leave a man or woman behind that is in uniform for our armed forces, and i think we can agree on that. so the president, in his role as commander-in-chief, did what many have done before, negotiated to get our p.o.w. back. now, we as the congress passed a resolution a few months ago that already said, hey, you didn't give us a 30-day notice. so i do not understand why we had to spend precious resources that we have on our armed services committee to basically
do what came out a political report, a politically-minded report, something with a pre-determined end to it. >> ifill: but is it possible there is a deduction to be made between the circumstances of that exchange and the unsettled state we now find afghanistan in? >> look, these actually -- these five that were released were not the worst of the worst and we did not choose these in. the report, the republicans indicated that somehow we had chosen these because we wanted to get them out of gitmo, and the reality is that we were negotiating for the life of a fellow american. that's what the president was doing. now, could he have talked to congress in some way? well, the administration said, look, this was so important to keep under wraps because his health was deteriorating and we were trying to get him out and we didn't know whether the deal
was going to go and we were afraid it was going to break. i believe there could have been a way for the president and his administration to talk to some of the ranking members of the different committees of jurisdiction, those that, you know, deal with this, but he chose not to, and i think we've already passed a resolution that said that. >> ifill: let me ask representative hartzler about the guantanamo bay connection that representative sanchez just raised, this idea that there is a goal behind all of this to be able to resettle guantanamo bay detainees elsewhere, close the base down, close the detention facility down. do you see a connection? >> well, i'm not sure about that, but do i know the president promised in his campaign that he was going to release people from guantanamo bay, that it was his goal to close it, and he has continued in that path. his goal is to continue to close the facility.
so here he released five individuals, and we were not able to determine if we in the negotiations ever authored one for one or two for one. all that information was and still is hidden from us. they refuse to give us that information. it took over a year and a half to carry out this investigation primarily because the administration continued to stonewall and provide us with e-mails and documentation and when we got the documentation, they were redacted out. it was very difficult to determine what we have determined and it is clear and i think the american people once they read this report will be as concerned as i am that the president violated the law plus he misled congress over and over again, even to the extent that secretary hagel came over to the armed services committee and denied that they were negotiating with the taliban when, in fact, we know he was. >> ifill: let me let representative sanchez respond to that. what do we know and at this
stage, in your opinion, about this episode. >> what i know is what a shame we spent a year and a half of resources and time on a report that was in essence pre-written, being, yes, the democrats on the task force for this did sit in the interviews, they did sit in the hearings, but they've received the first draft of the report and they had no input into it right before thanksgiving. then they received it yesterday, the final draft of the report yesterday at 11:00 a.m. in the morning, and then it was released today. so we have what we call a minority report, the democrat side of what we think is wrong with the report and, again, we believe it was politically motivated, that it's a pre-written report, if you will, that it doesn't talk about the real issues that we might raise, that it makes a lot of
assumptions that are just not true and that it goes after the president unnecessarily. >> ifill: representative sanchez, what we have here, i want to ask you about one other report that we see today, reported you said on larry king in the context of the questions we have been having this week about muslims and america and whether they should be here and their role in terrorism, your quote is it could be from 5 to 20% of the people i speak to that islam is a religion that have a desire for caliphate and you link that to terrorism where do you get that, 5 to 20% of muslims interested in caliphate? >> a book i read published by the harvard press. but think about this, what i'm talking about is muslims around the world, and i think that that is a high number. and if you see the rest of the interview that i have, i say that. i think that's a very big number, between 5 and 20% of
muslims who have this idea to build a caliphate and, yes, a few muslims are willing to use violence. we see it, whether it's in afghanistan, whether it's i.s.i.s., whether it's in iraq, wherwhether it's in the philipps and other areas around the world with this whole idea of pushing forward their ideas. we need to take that into context and say, you know, how is this that we will fight these terrorists, these extremists? >> reporter >> ifill: representative loretta sanchez of california, representative vicky hartzler of missouri, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: the plight of the yazidi religious sect in iraq was a major factor in pushing the united states to war against the islamic state group last
year. last month, their homeland in and around sinjar, iraq was liberated, but thousands have no intention of staying. special correspondent jane arraf brings us the story of some trying to leave for europe. is family is planning to leave any day to be smuggled across the border to turkey. by boat from greece is the cheapest way to get to europe. the mother and two sons could drown, as so many have, trying to reach europe's shores. how many thousands have risked that dangerous passage this year. it's a perilous journey. maybe more so by winter coming. many yazidis are going to back to sinjar where i.s.i.s. captured and killed many of
them. i.s.i.s. vowed to either convert or kill them. she faints when she even thinks about this. >> it's dangerous but what can i say? i have to take my family and my kids. that's the way to get out. we're not going to return to sinjar. it's dangerous either to stay or to leave. we might not survive, but we have to try. >> a backlash in europe with refugees, and now after attacks in paris, europe's open doors are closing. border controls made it much more difficult to get to western europe. thousands are still trying. for $2,000 each, amir's family will be smuggled to europe for what they hope will be a new start. perhaps he will be one of his first five brothers to go but not the last.
>> my brothers collected all the money they have and gave it to me so i can make the journey. all the brothers have given me their money and once i get there, i can help them. >> they say almost everything has been destroyed by the fighting, it is i.s.i.s. controlled. the yazidis lived peacefully with the muslim neighbors in iraq for years but that's over. >> a lot of people died and drowned at sea. it's still better than living among the arabs. it's leave or face death. >> many arabs are joining i.s.i.s. and killing their people and stealing their homes. some say in revenge to what was done to them. >> as long as we can breathe and have a drop of blood, no matter how far they run, we will chase them. we're not going to abandon our land or mountain. >> reporter: it's a temporary refuge while they wait to return home. for many, this construction site
has become a weigh station on their journey to europe. almost everyone here is from sinjar. they turned this empty field into essentially a village. but even though u.s. airstrikes and kurdish forces have retaken the town on sinjar mountain, almost no one here plans to go home again. >> a lot of the younger people are trying to raise money to leave. they say if they had money, almost everyone would be gone by now. hassan is one of the smugglers getting people to europe. over the last two years, he says he's delivered more than 1,000 yazidis and kurds to turkey where his connections get them to greece or eastern europe. there is no lack of business, but it's a little harder for smugglers. >> the prices right now in the last four or five months are the cheapest. previously it was $12,500 per
person and had to walk part of the way. now since we hand you over to an organization, it's $4,000. until they seal off the borders, people just go. >> reporter: he says he never smug also anyone he didn't know and he doesn't smuggle arabs. at one of the biggest bus companies, two buses a day take passengers straight to istanbul. money and a passport will get you a seat. for many, it's a one-way trip. this boy is 18 and travels with his brother. he will stay in turkey and paid the $8,000 they agreed on. he arrives in austria. another brother now an austrian citizen waiting for him there. >> i want to build a future for myself. i can see myself learning their language. it's a very beautiful thing for people to learn different languages and to go to school. i want to get an education because it wasn't good here. i.s.i.s. came and we couldn't
cope. >> reporter: the bus pulled up to the start of their 22-hour trip to istanbul. he heard of doors in europe closing for refugees, but he says he thinks people will welcome them because they know of the tragedy of what happened to the yazidis. this woman is taking her nieces and nephews to istanbul to be smuggled to germany. her husband and relatives are already there. everybody else is going. we're going, too, she says. they don't look back. many tearful goodbyes from the relatives and the moss. most are confident they will see them again in europe. for the cbs "newshour", i'm jane arraf in ike. iraq.
>> ifill: you can watch our >> woodruff: after years of criticism and debate over the federal law known as "no child left behind," the president and congress have finally agreed on a new education law, one that aims to shift some of the federal government's influence over 100,000 public schools. >> a christmas miracle, a bipartisan bill signing right here. >> woodruff: president obama praised the new bill-- called the "every student succeeds act" -- as he prepared to sign it into law at the white house. it still requires annual testing of students between third and eighth grade, as well as once during high school. but unlike the prior law signed by president george w. bush in 2002, it does not give the federal government power to impose penalties on under- performing schools. the president, who had waived those penalties but had backed many features of the law for years, acknowledged the shortcomings of "no child left
behind." >> it didn't always consider the specific needs of each community. it led to too much testing during classroom time, it often forced schools and school districts into cookie cutter reforms that didn't always produce results we wanted to see. >> woodruff: the new law passed with unusually large bipartisan margins in the senate and the house, a point made yesterday by one of its sponsors, republican senator lamar alexander of tennessee. >> not many things this important pass the us senate 85- 12. this is a big christmas present from the senate and the house and it's going down to the president and i hope he wraps a big red ribbon around it and sends it out to 100 million students, 3.4 million teachers, 100,000 pubic schools. >> woodruff: states and school districts will now have more responsibility for judging how schools are doing and how to utilize testing.
teacher evaluations, long a subject of intense debate, will not necessarily be tied to tests. but there remain many questions about the practical impact: will states take action when needed? and will some districts return to a time of ignoring the needs of struggling and minority students? let's take a closer look at what this law changes and some of those questions and criticisms of it. alyson klein who has been covering this was at the white house signing today. she's with "education week," an organization we collaborate with on education stories. she was at the white house today for the president's signing. thank you for being here. what are the main ways that this new bill is different from the old one? so, as you mentioned at the top, this new law would really broaden the authority of states when it comes to turning around low-performing schools, evaluating teachers and deciding
what exactly to hold schools accountable for. states, as you said, will still have to test students in grades 3-8, and once in high school, but they will have more say on how much those tests count in gauge ago school's performance. >> woodruff: so is that a significant change in the testing that's going to go on? >> yeah, the testing will continue, but schools will also be asked to focus on other factors, things like school climate, teacher engagement, student engagement, access to advance course work. so those things will be looked at engaging the school's rating or performance alongside test. >> woodruff: what about teacher performance? we mentioned that will not now necessarily be tied to how the tests go. what does this new law say about teachers? >> this law gives states the authority to decide exactly how to evaluate their teachers, and
states may decide to kick that responsibility to school districts. states certainly could continue to hold teachers accountable for student growth and test scores, but it would be up to them and not the federal government. >> woodruff: is there a since, alyson klein, that it will feel different in terms of a federal mandate in schools? >> states will need to take much more ownership, i think the sponsors say, of their systems. so how much change we'll see in schools will end up being up to the state and district level. certainly, teachers unions, governors, state chiefs are expecting to see a more holistic approach to education loing forward. >> woodruff: now, we mentioned this passed by a very big, unusual bipartisan margin, but we still hear criticism, for example a number of conservative members of congress did not vote for it. one of their main air games, they say, it still has too much a federal presence despite
changes. >> obviously there are some running for president, trkd, for example, who opposed the bill who would like to see there be no department of education. so even though this would constrain the department of education, some say it would put a straitjacket around the secretary, it doesn't get rid of the department altogether, which some folks would like to see. >see. >> woodruff: so there clearly spill are federal mandates connected to the money. >> yes. >> woodruff: the other criticism you hear, i guess you could say it's from the left, but it's those saying there is not enough in here to require schools to do something for students who are academically struggling, those students in underperforming schools. how do the proponents defend it from that criticism? >> senator patty murray, a lead sponsor of this bill, and representative bobby scott, both democrats, noted there are guardrails is the term they use in this bill that would call for
states to look at their very lowest-performing schools, schools where less than a third of kids graduate and schools where certain groups of students like english language learners, students in special education, racial minorities, are not performing as well as their peers. so they say those guardrails are in place and we're not going to see any slide back. >> woodruff: but there still is leeway for states on what to do about the lowest-performing schools? >> yes, absolutely. >> woodruff: final last question, alyson klein -- common core, does this affect that? >> so this would turn control of standards completely over to states. the obama administration through its "no child left behind" waiver program has required states to either adopt common core or instead of standards that their institutions of higher education sign off on -- it's kind of technical -- but this law says you need to have
challenging academic standards that get students ready for higher education but takes the federal government out of the picture, meaning states can continue common core but nothing says they have to. >> woodruff: alyson klein with education week, thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: earlier this week, we examined how a little-known immigration program is being used, and some say abused, for jobs and development in certain communities. congress must decide whether to renew the 25-year-old program next week. tonight, economics correspondent paul solman has the second of his two reports about it. cases in the country, all part of our series "making sense," which airs every thursday on the newshour.
just four miles from the canadian border, surf's up at the j. peak resort, part of the half- million development project to transform the economically depressed northeast kingdom as this corner of vermont is called with foreign investment. the developer is bill stanger. >> in the last seven years we've constructed three different hotels, a beautiful indoor water park, ice arena, conference center, wedding facility, and we've had a tremendous impact n our local economy regionally as well. >> reporter: a local economy that for most of vermont's history has been at the very bottom but now leads the state in job creation. so the northeast kickedle wins, tourists win and so do the foreign investors, not only with a promised return on their investment, but -- and here's the novel incentive of the so-called ebb five program -- with green cards, permanent resident vies as for them and
their families in exchange for forking over $500,000 to private companies to create at least ten jobs in areas of deep unemployment. >> you don't have to live in vermont. there are a number of people from around the world who love florida, arizona, california, warmer weather. >> reporter: beside the rule of sunny climb -- >> parents oftentimes will gift their son or daughter an investment, they can complete their studies here and if they can find a job in the united states, the green card will allow them to accept the job and within five years they will be able to apply for citizenship and it will be granted. >> reporter: some may have a problem with citizenship for a cool half million deal even if it is creating a winter wonderland. is it fair rich people get to come to the united states when there are so many truly desperate immigrants from, say,
syria, as we speak? >> i'm seeking capital from a legal source that's been in existence since 1990 that is promoted by our government, helps us and, yes, those people are successful and they're contributing to our economy. >> reporter: well they certainly seem to be improving life in and around j. peak. before the eb-5 renovation began in 2008, this was a ski slope going downhill. it's now a year-round resort attracting customers to its rides, rimption, restaurants. dining revenues alone now top $10 million, doubling what the resort took in pre-eb-5. >> this is immense and priceness. >> reporter: for mike and bob, economic growth has meant career growth as well. >> somebody like myself who is just maybe cooking steaks, but
because it is growth, it gives me opportunity where i can move up and become a supervisor. >> reporter: it even benefited the local quilting bee. >> there were 33 people in the old hotel. >> reporter: kay was the organizer. >> by j. peak opening this wonderful conference center, we're able to expand and have 115 people here this year. >> reporter: including a nurse from nearby. >> i volunteered because i wanted to thank him. a lot of the farms are going out of business, there wasn't much opportunity for the youth in this area, and you've come here and it's like this big enterprise and there is building and construction going on and students are employed in high school -- >> reporter: as lifeguards, ski patrols, desk clerks. no wonder in neighboring ne newport, bill is treated like man to have the year if not the millennium. newport is where stanger and his partner have half a dozen new
eb-5 projects pending, most ostensibly a manufacturing associated with a biotech firm. >> manufacturing artificial organs such as kidneys, heart and liver. >> reporter: i understand why you would build up a resort but a biotech center in the northeast kingdom? >> it's a great idea. we are at the right place at the right time with capital -- patient capital and a great business plan. >> there is going to be enormous opportunity in the construction trades. >> reporter: remember, stanger is a promoter and if all this sounds too good to be true, well, some say it is. most notably some of the investors. tony sutton was among j. peak's first eb-5 investors in early 2008 but now back home in england running a large car
dealership. >> started back in 2014 where the exit strategy of j. peak is completely opposite of what they promised would happen. >> reporter: sutton is one of a group of 35 who put up half a million each to build the tram lodge at j. peak. some complained to the state that stanger and kiros promised their money back in five years. but they didn't do that? >> no, they gave us all i.o.u.s. if we look at the company we run against, our research suggests that company j. peak management,, inc., has no assets, no income and no service force any of the investors. >> reporter: you don't think you will ever get your capital back? >> no, not from j. peak. there is no obligation to pay the investment back. >> reporter: stanger maintains the loan is garn feed by the entire resort and, besides -- >> we want to pay them back. we want to exit them, but what
this gentleman would have liked for us to give him a $500,000 check on year five in one day. the market's crashed. we needed a little more time. >> reporter: it sound liked a reasonable defense and, besides, i said to investor sutton, you got four green cards for yourself and your family. so why should anybody sympathize with the fact you didn't get your money on time or might not ever even get it? >> it's not about sympathy and not about the return on the investment, it's about the program we bought into and the way the program was sold to eb-5 investors. >> reporter: that's a real concern says journalist ann galloway. >> people in these countries are investing in something they have put faith in, and that faith is lost, and that has a ripple effect across all of these projects.
the stories have a chilling effect. >> reporter: galloway founded investigative reporting web site vermontdiger.org, and dig she has. for the last two years on bill stanger's various projects among the largest in the country fund bid eb-5. >> i know from the documents i've collected, hundreds of pages of e-mails and contracts and so on that there are very big questions about how the upony has been handled. >> reporter: there is a concern out there investor money is being siphoned off by individuals. >> that is a question that's come up, in particularly the bio project and the statement wanting to know where did $15 million go to. >> reporter: the investor says he's suspicious. >> hundreds of families are relying on me and my team to
implement what we do and do it right. >> reporter: we're in no position to tell whether or not financial ledger has been going on. we leave that to the state and federal agencies reviewing the matter. but reporter galloway's concern is broader. >> i think if the united states is going to promote a program that attracts people from universities, it ought to be well regulated. >> reporter: in the end, that's why investors like tony sutton are raising a ruckus. we have one last wee question about bill stanger and partners. one interpretation is they're trying to do something good for the depressed part of vermont, you can rob a bank and build a hospital and everything's fine. >> reporter: economics correspondent paul solman, reporting from north kingdom, vermont, for the pbs "newshour".
>> woodruff: now, a spectacular new wilderness park in chile and the man who helped create it. earlier this week, douglas tompkins, the founder of the outdoor equipment company, the north face, died in a kayaking accident in chile, the country where he spent much of his time. tompkins and his wife, kris, have long been dedicated to acquiring natural wilderness areas and then turning them back to countries in south america. the latest-- the patagonia national park in chile-- is opening this month. special correspondent mike cerre reports from patagonia. >> reporter: imagine a national park with the best of yellowstone, yosemite and grand teton national parks, without the traffic or wait lists for campsites. chile's new patagonia national park will be the size of rhode island when it's combined with two adjacent national reserves.
complete with snow capped mountains, wild rivers and sweeping grasslands. as the these ultra marathon runners discovered on their 100- mile fundraising run "the length of the park," sponsored by the patagonia company. >> since we've moved to chile, we've been fortunate enough to have acquired 2.4 million acres. between chile and argentina, all of which, we hope will become part of a national park system in either country more before there's a reason that people come from all over the word here, and they stay because there is something alluring about it. after 24 years working for the company patagonia, i thought there must be something to this and i'm going to go see it for myself and i fell in love. >> reporter: kris tompkins, the patagonia outdoor clothing company's first c.e.o., also fell in love with doug tompkins, the founder of north face and
esprit companies, who moved to patagonia after exiting the business world in the mid 90's. >> this is a lot more satisfying than selling a lot of clothes that nobody needs and being part of the problem rather than attempting to be part of the solution for this immense eco- social crisis we're all immersed in. >> reporter: doug tompkins and yvon chouinard, the founder of the patagonia clothing company, first discovered the patagonia region while making a movie of their infamous 1968 road trip to the tip of south america in a van, surfing and climbing mountains the length of chile. >> i'm kind of half chilean at this point. this is where i've been living and working for a long time now. >> reporter: the road less traveled to patagonia-- and the new park-- and their home away from home is still unpaved .
it took us eight hours to get there from where doug picked me up at the closest commercial airport in the aysen region on the chilean side of patagonia. nearly a thousand miles south of santiago and nearly as many miles north of tierra del fuego at the tip. valle chacabucco, the original land for the park, was one of south america's largest sheep ranches until it went into serious decline due to severe over-grazing. >> so it was really a diminished landscape. and in some places, the land had been eaten down so consistently and for so many decades that it really wasn't going to come back. >> reporter: the tompkins, along with the help of other conservationists, bought the nearly 200,000-acre ranch in 2004 for $10 million.
over the past 20 years, they have invested another $55 million of their and other conservation foundations' money to restore the grasslands and local fauna, including the nearly extinct huemel deer and pumas, which had become quite scarce. with the help of local and foreign student volunteers, they've removed over 500 miles of fences and created hundreds of miles of trails. they designed and built the park's infrastructure to make it more accessible and accommodating to visitors from chile and around the globe. >> before too long we step out, we are donating this park, these lands, the whole story to the chilean people, and through that the chileans will develop their sense of ownership. >> we choose the national park idea because it's really the highest form of protection for landscapes that exists under current law, especially in chile
and argentina. >> reporter: the idea of privately funding parks and turning them over to the government for national parks might be new to chile, but not in the u.s. some of our more famous parks started with private donations and citizen stewards. from teddy roosevelt preserving a california redwood forest donated by a local couple, to john d. rockefeller jr.'s land donations that were the catalyst for creating maine's acadia national park and our national park system, which many believe to be one of america's greatest ideas. >> national parks system is a great combination of public and private effort, and certainly is the case in everything that we're working on, so you can't separate out the necessity, the urgency, the private sector, individuals. and i don't care if they have a lot of money, if they have a little money, that is not the point. >> reporter: like the conservation versus development battles in the u.s. and elsewhere, not all chileans have shared the tompkins' conservation vision.
over the years they've been buffeted by shifting political winds. many of them generated by opposition rumors that they were trying to divide the country in half, and the ones about creating a doomsday refuge and an american nuclear waste site. it was a pro-development plan to dam the local rivers and run hydroelectric power lines through their parks and the length of the country that finally turned chilean public opinion in the tompkins' favor in order to protect the future of patagonia. the controversy turned doug tompkins, the mysterious american conservationist, into a local and national hero. >> the bi-product of the main thrust to protect the biodiversity of a given place is that you get especially young people out to the parks. it will have to be future generations that value these landscapes and ecosystems and make sure nobody is changing the law.
>> this park is going to be a good thing for chile. i think that the peoples that work here transmit all the knowledge about this park about the nature to other people and this site it's going to be a huge economic resource for the country. >> reporter: if they build it, will the people come? and will ecotourism help the local economy as much or more than other types of development? it's about to become much clearer this summer season in chile starting december when most of the park will finally be open to the public. >> you are seeing what you might have seen 150 years ago here in the united states. people are starting to go and really learn about the country they were born into and enjoy it. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, this is mike cerre reporting from patagonia, chile.
>> ifill: now we return to brief but spectacular-- our occasional series where we ask interesting people to discuss their passions. among this year's kennedy center honors awardees is an actress and singer who made her debut on broadway at age 13, and is perhaps best-known for playing anita in the film adaptation of "west side story." rita moreno originally struggled with being typecast, but fought industry pressure, and went on to become the first latino to win an oscar, a tony, an emmy and a grammy. this fall, she released her first all spanish album titled, "una vez mas." >> being the house ethnic was destroying my life and my sense of myself because i had been
assigned to play every desky role. i spoke with an accent still, but i was really trying to improve things. nobody gave a damn. middl.♪ moving to los angeles, i was about 16. i was under contract to m.g.m. studios, the studio of my dreams because that's where all the great musicals were made. i did a story about an actress in hollywood in 1954 and i made the cover, and i remember that the fellow who was doing the story on me said, listen, kid, i just wanted you to know, if eisenhower gets the code, we're off the cover. i auditioned for "west side story" like everybody else and i nearly had a heart attack
because i hadn't danced in about 15 years. i got a friend of mine who had played anita in the role in "west side story" to teach me some steps but she warned me no one always teaches the same steps. to my astonishment, the first part of the audition, the dance director said, let me teach you these steps from "america." i said, okay. it was the steps this girl taught me. when i was nominated for the oscar, i was almost positive judy garland would win for judgment at nuremberg, and then they called my name and i was poll axed. i remember walking down the stage and told myself, don't run, it's not dignified. i got up there and said the following -- unbelievable. (applause) i can't believe it!
>> oh, my gosh, the things i could have said, just killed me. there is something about sex that always brings out the funny in me. i guess because we make such fools of ourselves over it. get laid, oh, my god, people do just about anything. people get won over, too, by a woman's kind of sexuality. that was what i was trying to achieve. ♪ i really had a hard time not laughing. i've always wand to sing and dance all my life, but there is one song that absolutely captures the essence of who i am. ♪ as i approach the prime of my life ♪ ♪ i find i have the time of my
life ♪ ♪ willing to explore at my leisure ♪ ♪ every single pleasure ♪ and, so i happily concede i'm rita moreno, this is my brief but spectacular take on me! >> ifill: i've always wanted to be her when i grow up. she's the whole package. and she has a birthday which makes her 83 years old. >> happy birthday, rita. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on friday, judy sits down with britain's defense minister as they join the fight against isis in syria. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening with mark
shields and david brooks. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention. in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at lemelson.org.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
♪ >> announcer: this is "nightly business report." with tyler mathisen and sue herera. crude fallout. conoco philips, the latest big energy company to slash its spending as oil prices stay lower for longer. tarnished brand? are the controversial comments from republican presidential candidate donald trump taking a toll on his business? and medical mysteries. the big business of finding out just about everything there is to know about your body. the first part of our series "unlocking your health" begins tonight on "nightly business report" for thursday december good evening, everyone. i'm sharon epperson in tonight for sue herera. >> and i'm tyler mathisen. welcome, everybody. stocks rose even as oil prices fell and that hasn't hapne